Tyrell Malacia has stated that Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag advised him and new teammate Antony to ‘take it easy on each other after their past Eredivisie confrontations.
Malacia joined United from Feyenoord during the summer transfer window, with ten Hag reuniting with his former Ajax star during the final week of the market.
Last March, the duo faced off against one other, with Ajax claiming a 3-2 victory that helped propel them to another Dutch title with Antony on the scoresheet.
However, Malacia’s tenacity kept the winger quiet for the majority of the game, with the two involved in a number of heavy challenges and flashpoints throughout the Klassieker.
In injury time, the two collided again, with Antony collapsing to the ground in front of the dugouts. He was issued a second yellow card for time wasting after taking a swipe at Malacia as the full-back sought to take him off the pitch.
Malacia and Antony, Malacia’s teammates in Manchester, are expected to play major roles in ten Hag’s rebuild, with the United manager warning the two to tone it down a notch on the training ground.
‘When he [Antony] arrived [at Manchester United], the first thing the coach said was ‘guys easy on each other,” Malacia told Sky Sports.
‘He’s a good player, and I love playing against him, and now I get to play with him, which is amazing.’
Following United’s initial defeats to Brighton and Brentford, Luke Shaw was withdrawn from the starting XI, with Malacia taking over the left-back position and playing the entire 90 minutes in each of his side’s games since then.
Antony, who cost £86 million, was thrown immediately into the lineup for the league match against Arsenal at the start of September, scoring on his complete debut.
‘Every game [in the Premier League] is challenging, every week is demanding – there are no easy games,’ Malacia said of United’s progress.
‘[After the Brentford game], we talked a lot, we trained as a team, and the first thing we had to do was the basics – work hard.’
‘That’s where it all began, as you’ve seen in the games.’ It wasn’t always pretty football, but we worked hard and kept winning games.
‘That has to be our standard today, and we have to develop our possession game.’